Ever More Foreign Students at Polish Universities - NAWA

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Over 1.2 million students studied at Polish universities in the past academic year.

Among them, 6.8% were foreigners, and the largest group of foreign students came to Poland from other European countries, as we can find out from the latest report of the Central Statistical Office (GUS) on Polish higher education.


The latest GUS report on higher education

The report ‘Higher Education and Its Finances in 2019’ presents data on universities, students and graduates according to a number of criteria, including types of institutions, fields of study, age, gender, and degrees awarded. It provides financial data, as well, including university revenues and costs, use of funds or capital expenditure.

As the GUS analysis shows, ever more foreigners are interested in studying at Polish universities. In the academic year 2019/2020, 82,200 foreign students went to Polish universities, accounting for 6.8% of all students. The number of foreigners at our universities increased by 5% in comparison to the previous academic year.


Which universities do foreign students study at?

The most numerous groups of foreign students were hosted at: Jagiellonian University in Kraków (2980 people), University of Warsaw (2885), University of Lodz (1801), Warsaw University of Technology (1747), Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (1714), and University of Wrocław (1532). Among medical universities, which hosted more than 7,800 foreign students, the most popular were: Medical University of Lublin, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, and Medical University of Gdańsk.


Most popular fields of study: business, administration, and law

The most popular fields of study among foreign students were those related to business, administration, and law – they were chosen by more than 24,200 people. Another 12,400 foreigners chose to study social sciences, journalism, and information studies. Health and social care attracted nearly 10,800 people, while humanities and art – over 8,400. Almost 8,000 foreigners came to Poland to take up programmes related to services, and 6,000 foreigners wanted to study technology, industry, and construction. The least popular were agricultural studies, which attracted only 946 students from abroad.


Most foreigners at Polish universities from Ukraine and Belarus

The most numerous group among foreign students were those from European countries – as many as 61,900 people (75.3%), of which the most came from Ukraine (39,000), Belarus (8,300), Spain, and Turkey (2,200). Polish universities welcomed a large group of students from Asia (15,400), as well, mainly coming from India, China, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.

Last academic year, almost 14,500 graduates left Polish universities. The most popular fields of studies among foreign graduates were – just as among current students – business, administration, and law, with more than 4,800 alumni. Another 2,700 visitors graduated from fields related to social sciences, journalism, and information studies. More than 1,300 students from abroad graduated from faculties related to services.


How many students are taught by one academic teacher?

In addition, the GUS report shows that the universities employed 93,100 academic teachers, including 43,700 women, in the period in question. There were nearly 13 students per teacher.


Greater financial autonomy for universities

The authors of the report also point out that due to the entry into force of the Act on Higher Education and Science, universities have gained greater autonomy in disposing of funds obtained from the state budget. ‘Their revenues in 2019 amounted to PLN 28170.9 million (including PLN 25335.5 million at public universities), that is 14.9% more than in the previous year, while total costs amounted to PLN 26241.8 million (including PLN 23568.8 million at public universities), that is 10.0% more than in the previous year,’ the report states. The average cost of education per student was PLN 22900.16, which is 12.0% more than in the previous year.

The full version of the GUS report (Polish language)